Is your low-fat diet based on rabbit research TOO? No Wonder you can’t lose weight!

Image for post
Image for post

All of these … differences between the rabbit and human raised questions from the start about the applicability of this study’s data to humans. Nevertheless, subsequent studies confirmed similar results by supplying rabbits with a diet heavy in fat, which led to similar accumulation of cholesterol within their arteries. The tone of these studies was obvious: fat was now a criminal accessory to cholesterol and the cause of clogged arteries.”

Yesterday I read a book “Misguided medicine” by Colin E. Champ, M.D.

I was blown away by all the facts about studies that the majority of people base their lifestyle choices on. Diet, exercise.

I was one of those people. Until I decided to base my lifestyle choices on “feeling good, looking good” factor.

Take an average person from the street and ask them what they think healthy diet and healthy exercise is, what they should do to improve their health.

I’m not even going to start a discussion of people who think that taking pills, drugs and vitamins on a regular basis equals, somehow, long-term health, no matter what they eat or do daily.

No, I’m going to talk about YOU, people who have some common sense, and know that health is in your own hands, and your choices has a direct correlation with the amount of health you experience on a daily basis.

Vast majority of people truly believe that the less fat we eat the better we are off — I used to think that. Grains are good for you, whole grains, of course, — don’t even try to take them from us! Are you crazy? No grains? Where do you get your energy? — Heck, have no idea honestly. Stopped eating grains few years ago and keep getting healthier and looking better. Probably I’m some freak of nature or “exceptional” case, right?

More and more people with all the vegan/vegetarian propaganda going on believe that meat IS bad for you, no matter what, and even though everyone continues eating it, everyone subconsciously and wishfully wants to “quit meat”, some day, when they have strong enough will power.

Been there too.

What about calories?

Oh, of course, quality of food matters for health — we all agree on that one, but we still need to count calories! “Energy in = Energy out” for weight maintenance still works! You got to watch those portions and fat calories! Even if it’s healthy kind of fat!

How did we survive for so long without going fat for so many centuries? God only knows what a miracle and luck that was, right?

I personally don’t count anything anymore. I want to stay lean and all I have to do — choose foods that don’t bring my blood sugar levels up (besides eating all whole foods). Meaning nothing sweeter than fresh berries, and for the most part nothing sweet at all — I love my fish, veggies, eggs, nuts, avocados, dark chocolate, coconut oil and all kinds of nut butters. Sometimes chicken, and very rarely full fat fermented dairy and grass-fed beef — very rarely.

Meat? Full fat dairy?

Yes! Imagine that!

If everyone ate as much meat and dairy as I do, we’d all survive with a few cows roaming around in the wild.

Our body is not some engineered machines that take energy in, in the form of foods and food-like products (not even going to touch the subject of what food actually is to save you, dear reader, time), and converts it into energy or fat. There is much more complexity that goes into equation. Besides quality of food. Besides time of eating. Besides hormonal environment in the body present. Besides circadian rhythms and biological clock. Besides your stress levels. …

We are only beginning to understand what happens to food, any kind of food, when it goes into our body.

Also, while we are on the subject, our body does not convert what comes in into the same stuff. Carbs, fats, proteins, cholesterol, vitamins and minerals are not converted into the same substances in our body — our body runs millions of chemical reactions converting what comes in into whatever it needs for one reason or the other to maintain health and balance. So, eating more fat doesn’t mean more fat on your body. More carbs in your diet doesn’t mean more energy. Cholesterol-rich foods don’t create more cholesterol in your body. And more calcium in your food doesn’t mean more calcium in your bones — no matter what the latest commercial and government recommendations tell you.

What about exercise?

Think like hundreds of folks running in the central park daily giving you odd looks like something’s wrong with you when you walk by? Think you need to start daily running routine to lose weight and get healthy fast? As much running as you can possibly handle?

Think again!

How many people do you personally know who after years of running did NOT have some kind of injury and “had” to stop running? Yeah, they might get leaner than a couch potato person, but at what cost? Bad knees? Back? Heart? Yes, you actually get heart damage running all these miles, your heart muscle is NOT designed for running for miles at a time every single day.

We are designed for sprinting, lifting heavy objects, occasional stress, sometimes, and walking/being active the rest of the time. That what we humans did for thousands of years before “running bug” bit some of the influential people who spread this STUPID idea in masses. People of influence do stupid things too, taking along huge crowds of followers with them.

By the way, when did you see a happy runner on the track last time?

Very few happy folks in the running crowd are out there.

More miserable, don’t-know-what-else-to-do folks, for whom running is the only thing they can imagine doing for health regularly, even though it might not be that great for them and they’d be much better off walking everywhere instead of sitting and driving.

I feel so much better with 0 long-distance running now. — I used to be a marathoner. — And I’m so leaner. And so happier going for my daily morning walk instead of dragging myself out for “so-good-for-me” daily run.

I sprint sometimes, jump, for the heck of it, when I feel like a crazy kid chasing another squirrel. I lift weights few times a week. I love my yoga. And I walk every morning. And I rarely sit. Ever.

Few fascinating facts from the book “Misguided Medicine” I mentioned earlier.

“The story of fat’s demise begins in the early 1900s with the Russian scientist, Nikolai Anichkov, and a rabbit. In a series of experiments, Anichkov found that rabbits developed atherosclerosis, or clogged arteries, when their standard vegetable diet was replaced with heavy amounts of cholesterol in the form of meat and eggs. This was the first study to reveal the potential for a high-fat or high-cholesterol diet to produce accumulation of cholesterol within the arteries. Anichkov’s findings were unquestionably groundbreaking, even by today’s scientific standards.

However, one major roadblock stood in the way of translating this experiment to humans: it was performed on rabbits. As anyone who grew up watching Sunday cartoons knows, rabbits are vegetarians with little to no fat in their diet. Correspondingly, rabbits are nearly incapable of processing heavy amounts of fats; unlike human livers, rabbit livers lack the mechanisms to process excessive quantities of cholesterol. To further complicate this issue, the large intestine of the rabbit dominates in proportion to the stomach, comprising up to forty percent of this animal’s digestive tract. Within the large intestine, digestible elements of the diet are separated from the fibrous and undigested parts, as vegetables often contain many indigestible components. Rabbits then digest food elements within their hindgut.

All of these key physiological and anatomical differences between the rabbit and human raised questions from the start about the applicability of this study’s data to humans. Nevertheless, subsequent studies confirmed similar results by supplying rabbits with a diet heavy in fat, which led to similar accumulation of cholesterol within their arteries. The tone of these studies was obvious: fat was now a criminal accessory to cholesterol and the cause of clogged arteries.”

“Leaping forward in time hundreds of millennia, we arrive upon ambitious American George McGovern, a career politician who unsurprisingly had little knowledge of the science behind the effects of nutrition on the human body. What McGovern did have, however, was a bully pulpit and an influence-wielding megaphone: he held positions in the House of Representatives and the Senate for over a decade, and he was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1972.

Born in a tiny farming town in South Dakota, McGovern lived and breathed his agrarian roots even as he ascended to the position of Senator of his beloved home state. Unquestionably motivated to bring financial gain to his voting constituents, McGovern thought little of health concerns when he sought to spearhead a movement to change the diet of the American people forever. He organized a committee — many of whom were his political colleagues set to profit handsomely from the changes — to put in place new national nutrition policy guidelines, which not so coincidentally would financially support the main export of their state.

Under McGovern’s guidance, the Dietary Goals of the United States were released in 1977, and they forever changed the Standard American Diet (known as SAD), not to mention the American rate of obesity. In the months leading up to the release of the new policy — which became widely known as the “McGovern Report” — many who spoke at the committee meetings vehemently questioned McGovern’s logic and motives. Some of the more knowledgeable members presciently blamed carbohydrates for obesity; such opposition was ignored. The committee passed its resolution with the following goals:

Increase carbohydrate consumption to account for approximately 55–60% of energy intake.

Reduce overall fat consumption from 40% to 30% of energy intake.

Reduce saturated fat consumption to account for 10% of total energy intake and balance that with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, accounting for 10% of energy intake each.

Reduce cholesterol consumption to about 300 mg/day. Reduce sugar consumption by about 40% to account for about 15% of total energy intake.

Reduce salt consumption by 50–85% to about 3 g/day.

The Nutritional Committee of the American Heart Association (AHA) further refined the McGovern Report’s recommendations in 1982, aiming to reduce fat to less than 10% of all consumed calories. Ironically, to support recommendations for such a drastic reduction in dietary fat, the AHA actually cited epidemiologic studies that showed no significant correlation between fat, cholesterol, and heart disease.”

“Though the exact inventor of the word “calorie” remains unknown, the terminology first appeared around 200 years ago, presenting itself in chemical and industrial literature sometime between 1787 and 1824. It was originally used to quantify heat exchange in water and other materials, and its exact etymology remains unclear. However, the caloric model gained mainstream momentum when Nicholas Clément furthered the scientific study of steam engines in the early 1800s. Clément was a chemical engineer who worked extensively with heat transfer; his prevailing hypothesis was that heat acted as a “material” and thus was always preserved as it transferred between states and entities.

Within the next century, the caloric model was employed in various semi-related ways: 1) to describe the amount of work needed to offset the force of gravity; 2) to determine the least costly methods of providing livestock with nutrition through their feeds; and then 3) to model the changes in heat brought about by the different macronutrients in food. The motivation behind these measurements was to evaluate the economics of providing food macronutrients at a cheaper cost; macronutrients subject to observation included egg whites (proteins), sugars (carbohydrates), and fat. Soon, the calorie had grown in usage to become irreversibly associated with an amount of work that could be performed from the energy content of foods, and so the theory of daily energy intake and output based on calories was born.

Eventually, the calorie was rigidly defined as the amount of heat needed to raise one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. This energy of work included no physiological variables, nor did it factor in any of the human body’s hormonal or digestive effects. It was merely a measurement of heat and energy exchange.

The transition from the caloric models compiled by 19th century industrial and chemical engineers to present-day food consumption has promulgated the following two ideas: 1) after ingestion, food is converted to energy that is either burned or stored; and 2) this “burn or store” process is based solely on calories and thus occurs at an equivalent rate for all food types. However, humans are not machines with simple input-versus-output mechanisms — we are diverse physiologic beings with a plethora of complex input and output mechanisms, hormones, genes, and innate processes that affect every minute aspect of energy usage, storage, and body composition.

In fact, several hormones, including insulin, largely affect whether food is stored, burned, or converted to muscle versus fat. The caloric model was an incredible feat for the 18th and 19th centuries, but it remains antiquated, outdated, and grossly imprecise when extrapolated to humans and their complex physiques. When we factor in the composition of weight increase — specifically, the muscle gain desired by many versus the fat gain desired by few, the caloric model renders itself even less relevant. This does not mean to say that modern nutritionists are out to rewrite the laws of thermodynamics. However, it is clear that there is much more to the equation than more food equals more weight and less food equals less weight.

What do you think?!

Are you still gonna base your lifestyle choices on some rabbit research, marketing needs of a governor in 20th century and the work of a chemical engineer whose machine was used to provide just enough nutrition to grow more livestock?

The book has many more stories like that. Yes, your morning run is about to go down too. Real scientific stories, that will blow your mind.

Coach. Nutrition. Health. Weight Loss. Flexible Keto. Food Consultant. HEALTH FOUNDATION - FREE 📧EMAIL COURSE

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store